The Slippery Slope of Conflict (The Peacemaker)

I first heard about Peacemaker Ministries at a church planter's conference sponsored by ONA. It has since become my go-to book for conflict resolution. Ken Sande's central premise is that in most conflicts, winning or losing are not the best options, Rather, bringing restoration to the relationship is a goal that can be healthy for both sides.

Of course, I was thinking of this today, in light of events between my Alma Mater and Denomination. I can understand the motives behind actions on both sides, but board dissolutions and restraining orders are a mess no matter what side of the argument you're on!

Sande writes,
Conflict can make life very awkward. It often catches us off guard and leads us to say and do things we later regret. When someone offends us, we often react without thinking. Soon it is as if we are sliding down a slippery slope and things are going from bad to worse. As the illustration shows, this slippery slope can drop off in two directions.
Here's a link to a one page summary of "The Slippery Slope of Conflict." Here's a link to my sermon series on the same topic. Also, check out Sande's Four G's, especially #3 and #4.

Whether you're facing conflict in your family, business, church, or school, there is a higher goal than "being in it to win it."


  1. Good post, my friend. Reconciliation needs to take place. But I'm not sure that one side even wants reconciliation. I wrote a letter of disapproval to the Alumni Association and my concerns were not even addressed; basically, the response I got was "we tried to fix this before General Synod and we were ignored." To which I interpreted, "we didn't get our way, so we want to sue."

    When one side refuses to accept ecclesiastical authority, behaves like the world, and refuses to listen to reconciliation, what would be your suggestion for the next course of action?

    BTW, I have been praying for reconciliation and understanding, and I hope all of the readers of your blog are doing the same. This is not about "let's get even with the other side"; it's about Christ and His church and His glory. If someone puts anything -- even a college -- ahead of Christ, then we have a huge problem.

  2. Tim-
    I felt like the dissolving of the board was an extreme way to do the right chopping down a tree when it just needs pruning. I would have rather seen Synod do it over time rather than all at once.

    I understood at Synod that the Trustees agreed "in spirit" to the Commission's recommendations, but could not agree to the process. To me, the suit undermines this "in spirit" agreement and sends the opposite message.

    And though I disagreed with the initial suit, at least it was filed by a representative of the Board. What does the Alumni Association have to do with it? Maybe the Booster Club will sue next...or Tri-Beta?

    And to answer your question about our next course of action: I don't know! I think the current situation gets at some "heart" issues with all involved. There is only One Way, One Truth, and One Life who can address those issues.


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